Skip to main content

Full text of "Mathura A District Memoir"

See other formats

THE RIVER-SIDE                                                 149
of much greater height; but all the upper part was destrojed, It is said, by
Aorangzeb. The exceedingly ugly and incongruous plaster dome, which now
surmounts the building, was apparently added about the beginning of the
present century. It no doubt helps to preserve what yet remains of the
original work, but it sadly detracts from its architectural effect. I had hoped
that the reigning Maharaja might be induced to undertake the complete
restoration of this interesting family mofiihnent, and if the matter had been
properly represented to him, he would in all probability have consented to do
so. It is not at all likely that anything will be done now; but the design that
I had prepared may be thought worthy of preservation. No small amount of
time and thought was bestowed upon it; and I hope that architects will
consider it both a pleasing object in itself and also a faithful reproduction
of the destroyed original
At the time when it was,built, that is, at the end of the 16th century, It
may be presumed that the city of Mathura occupied its old position in the
neighbourhood of the katra, and that the river-bank was used as the ordinary
place for the cremation of the dead. Several cenotaphs of about the same
period still remain, being mostly in old Hindu style, with brackets of good
and varied design. The two largest bear the dates 1638 and 1715 Sambaf,
coresponding to 1581 and 1638 A,D. They had all been taken possession of
by the Chaobes, who blocked up the arches with mud or rough brick-work
and converted them Into lodging-houses, which they rented to pilgrims. In
18751 had them all opened out when widening and paving the street along the
river-bank. This work was left unfinished, but enough had been done to ren-
der the street, though still narrow^ the most picturesque in the city. Many
of the ghats had been repaired, while the removal of a number of obstructions
had opened out a view not only .of the river but also of the houses and temples
on the land site. Some of these are very graceful specimens of architecture,
in particular the house of Porushottam Lai, the Gokul "Ciosain, close to the
Bengali ghat, which has a most elaborate facade and a balcony displaying
a great variety of patterns of reticulated tracery.
Immediately below the last of the ghats and opposite the Sadr Bazar,
which has a population of some 6,000 souls and forms a small town by itself,
entirely distinct both from the city and the European quarters, are two large
walled gardens oa the river-bank. One of these, called the Jamisna bagh, is
the property of the Seth. It is well kept up and contains two very handsome
chhattris, or cenotaphs, la memory'of Parikh Ji, the founder of the family, and